Strike enters second week
A STRIKE by about 4,000 workers at Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium Company in Mpumalanga is now in its second week
The workers, who are mostly members of the National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa), downed tools after about 100 colleagues were retrenched and management threatened to lay off a further 400 and change the shift system.
Numsa's Stephen Nhlapo said yesterday workers were angered by the company's plan to retrench more workers when a four-shift system is implemented.
"We believe that we should have been informed and given an opportunity to make an input on how we could save jobs," he said.
"Workers are used to working a three-shift system which allowed them to work overtime. The scrapping of the shift system means there will be no overtime while more workers will be retrenched."
Evraz spokeswoman Cathie Lewis disputed the union's claim that hundreds of workers had been retrenched.
"It is just over 100 people who have been laid off," Lewis said.
She said Evraz and the union were currently resolving their differences and work would resume before the end of the week.
"We are in a process of restructuring, which is necessary if the company is to remain sustainable. We hope that a solution will be found before the end of the week," she said.
The union took the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and it was referred to mediation.